There are a lot of fun facts about Top Gun. It’s been over 30 years since the film first flew into theaters. Top Gun was one of the quintessential movies of the ’80s, grossing over $357 million worldwide at the box office as one of the highest grossing films of the decade. With Top Gun: Maverick topping one billion dollars at the global box office, it seems only fitting to circle back to Maverick, Goose, Iceman and the rest of the boys. With that in mind, here are 15 fast facts about Top Gun.
Facts about Top Gun:
- There is no such thing as a Top Gun Trophy. While Top Gun is based on an actual flight school (the U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School or TOPGUN), the Top Gun Trophy is not a thing. You either pass the course or you don’t.
- The Top Gun flight school charges each staff member $5 for quoting the movie. There is no trophy and you cannot quip the zippy one liners from the movie. Looks like the Top Gun School is writing checks its body can’t cash…or something like that.
- The movie caused a jump in Ray-Ban sales. After the release of Top Gun, Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses saw a 40% increase in sales.
- Director Tony Scott was repeatedly fired while filming Top Gun. The reasons included making Kelly McGillis look “beautiful in a whorish kind of way,” and for shooting cockpit footage with the helmet visors down thus obscuring the faces of the primary actors.
- In 2011, China attempted to pass off footage from Top Gun as an Air Force training exercise. China actually just played clips from the movie Top Gun on China Central Television. No word if this was the shirtless volleyball montage.
- Matthew Modine turned down the role of Maverick because he objected to the Cold War politics in the script. Modine would later go on to star as Private Joker in Full Metal Jacket. Sean Penn, Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estevez, John Cusack, Matthew Broderick, Michael J. Fox and Tom Hanks were also were considered for the role of Maverick.
- Goose’s real name is never actually mentioned. Portrayed by Anthony Edwards, Goose’s actual name is Nick Bradshaw. His name can be seen on a flight patch on top of his dresser when Maverick goes to retrieve his belongings after his death. Goose’s son is named Bradley, and was played by twins Aaron and Adam Weiss. Miles Teller played Bradley in Top Gun: Maverick.
- Anthony Edwards was the only one of the actors not to vomit when flying in the fighter jets. Tom Cruise was allowed to take 3 rides in the F-14 Tomcat. He vomited during the first training flight.
- Goose, Slider, and Jester all ended up with roles in the TV series ER. Anthony Edwards (Goose) played Dr. Mark Greene, Michael Ironside (Slider) played Dr. William ‘Wild Willy’ Swift, and Rick Rossovich played Dr. John Taglieri.
- Kelly McGillis is 3 inches taller than Tom Cruise. She’s 5’10” and he’s 5’7″. Tom Cruise had to wear lifts in many of his scenes with Kelly McGillis.
- Top Gun caused Navy recruitment to go up 500%. The US Navy used the film’s release as a drive to recruit new pilots setting up booths in front of theaters.
- Top Gun was partially subsidized by the U.S. Government. Top Gun had a production budget of $15 million. Every hour that Paramount wanted to film an F-14, it would cost $10,000. In 2011, the Washington Post reported that, “The Pentagon worked hand-in-hand with the filmmakers, reportedly charging Paramount Pictures just $1.8 million for the use of its warplanes and aircraft carriers.”
- The movie is dedicated to a stunt pilot who was killed during production. Aviator Art Scholl died in 1985 when his plane failed to recover from an inverted flat spin and crashed into the Pacific Ocean. The tragic death resembled that of the character Goose in the movie.
- The band Toto was first tapped to perform “Danger Zone”, but they couldn’t due to legal conflicts. REO Speedwagon turned down Danger Zone as well because they wanted write other songs for the soundtrack. Ultimately Kenny Loggins stepped in and the rest is history.
- A sequel was first written following the success of the movie, but was scrapped because it was too expensive. Reportedly, the plot involved Maverick in the role of instructor at the Top Gun academy with a female pilot as his troubled student. After reviewing the script Paramount canceled the project because of the high cost.
If you liked these facts about Top Gun, check out these 15 facts about Romancing the Stone.
Also, go ahead and share some more fun facts about Top Gun that we might have missed below in the comments.